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Old 08-12-2018, 07:08 PM View Post #1 (Link) Stewart the Middle and her Intense Housework
luna1111 (Offline)
Literary Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 4
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1

It was the first day of a three-day weekend, and Jasmine Stewart was excited. She had always been looking forward to this day because she could do whatever she wanted as both of her parents and her two sisters would be busy. She tried to pull herself out of bed, but she was tired. But she had no choice. She had to be up now. Jasmine dressed slowly and headed down a hallway to the kitchen.
"Good morning, Jasmine," Jasmine's mom, Allison said. "I have a job for you. You have to move some furniture around. I've drawn a map for you so you will know what goes where."
Oh my gosh, Jasmine thought. This is going to be torture for me. I can't play the viola today because I need lots of energy to play it and I have a concert in three days. I could do viola first but then I would have trouble with the furniture.
Jasmine wanted to cry, but she had to obey.
"All right," she muttered.
"Jasmine, what attitude is that!" Mom snapped. "This furniture thing is more important than your music."
But I have a concert in three days, Jasmine wanted to say, but the words wouldn't come. This is the meanest my mother has ever been to me, she said to herself. Jasmine wept.
"What attitude is that?" Mom yelled. Her face was red with anger. "You only care about your music, Jasmine."
"I have a concert in three days!" Jasmine yelled. She wanted to scream.
"No excuses."
"Are you out of your mind, Mommy?"
"No. You only care about music. Nothing else."
This wasn't true. Jasmine always cared about her family, but she had a concert in three days, and it was important to her. She needed the energy to practice.
"I truly care about you, but I have a concert in three days," Jasmine said. "Can I get help from my friends please?"
"No," Mom replied. "This is up to you."
"Honestly, this is something I cannot do on my own. This is something that requires teamwork."
"No it doesn't," Mom was furious now. "If you keep acting like this, your viola will be taken away from you permanently."
Jasmine wanted to cry, but she couldn't. She tried to hold back her tears, but she just couldn't help it. She raced to her room she shared with her sisters to calm down.
Suddenly, Mom opened the door.
"Your viola has been taken away from you permanently," she announced firmly. "The decision is final."
"What will happen to my viola?"
"We'll sell it or trash it."
"Mom, what a terrible punishment. Look at my calendar."
"You do have a concert in three days, but that is not important."
Jasmine raced to the phone in the study to call her fourteen-year-old friend, Kaitlin Zhou. She plays piano, violin, viola and clarinet well, is partially sighted, is good at ballet, computers and tae kwon do, and is a caring, sympathetic, kind, friendly and smart girl. Jasmine is especially close to her, not only in age (one year younger than Kaitlin), but they have a lot in common.
"Hello," Kaitlin said. "What's up?"
"Mom took my viola away from me because she was going to force me to do some really intense housework, and I can't obey because I have a concert in three days." Jasmine cried. "I can't have anyone to help me."
"It's okay. I have a really awesome idea. I'll tell my mom that I'm coming over to hang out with you. I'll try and leave no evidence that I was here. Then, we'll do the work together, and all you have to do is to not tell Mom that I was here."
"But what if she notices? She's really mad at me."
"If she does, tell her how important music is to you, and all that matters is that the job is done. Simple."
"Thank you. Bye."
Jasmine hung up. She wasn't totally convinced, but she was going to try.
She headed back to the kitchen.
"Were you just phoning your friend to ask her for help with the furniture so you could play the viola?"
"No."
"You're lying."
"No I wasn't."
"You are. I can tell. Your viola has been taken away from you permanently. No excuses."
Jasmine cried some more. All the sudden, her Dad, Jim came.
"Good morning, Jasmine," he said. "What's up?"
"Mom's making me do really intense housework, but I can't obey because I have a viola performance in three days. Mom has taken my instrument away from me because of this. I called Kaitlin for help, but Mom said no teamwork is permitted."
"Jasmine," Dad hugged her. "You are a very talented musician, my dear. I feel very sorry for you. I'll try and talk to Mom about this, see what she says."
Dad and Mom began arguing in the kitchen. Things were becoming so intense that Megan (fourteen) and Aylin (ten) came to the kitchen to see what was going on.
"I feel really sorry for you, Jasmine," Aylin said sympathetically.
"I don't know what to do," said Megan.
The two adults were calming down. Breakfast began. There was oatmeal porridge, toast and muffins.
"So what?" Jasmine asked.
"I'm afraid this is going to be very sad, but you will have to give up viola after the concert," said Dad. "I personally wouldn't let that happen, as I know how much you love it, how talented you are, and how important it is to you. Unfortunately, Mom won't let it. She says you need to start doing housework instead of practicing music. You must learn to do some house chores, but Mom's making you do it to an overkill degree. I'm afraid this is the best solution."
"Let her continue! Let her continue!" Aylin and Megan shouted almost at once.
"No!" snapped Mom.
"Yes," said Dad.
This was going to be unfortunate for Jasmine. Maybe she was going to have to practice sneakily, but that couldn't be possible. The viola is noisy, and Mom would here every sound it makes. Oh shoot! Jasmine started to cry and stomp her feet. She was so mad at her Mom that she wanted to kill her. She was so upset that her cheeks were extremely red. Tears flowed everywhere, and she wasted half a box of tissues.
"Jasmine," Mom said. "You are coming to work with me."
"So am I coming to your office?"
"Yes you are."
"What will I do?"
"Nothing."
"Nothing? No way!" Jasmine cried.
"You're totally wrapped up in your music."
"Let her stay home," Aylin put in. "She's crazy about music, but that's not a bad thing. It's not fair to us. You're being real nice to us. Treat Jasmine like you treat us. Please."

"Yeah," Megan said. "This can't be possible. Jasmine is such a nice person. I don't want her to be tired to death."
"No!" Mom yelled.
There was silence.
"Guys," Mom broke the silence. "Jasmine is different. I believe it's now her turn now to do the heavy duty stuff. She cannot have any help."
"You're ridiculous, Allison," put in Dad.
"Will I have to quit music altogether, even the piano and the violin?" asked Jasmine sadly. "These are not as tiring as the viola. It's not like I get particularly tired after playing viola for long hours, in which case I really don't, but how can I play anything with an aching body?"
"I don't care!" Mom yelled angrily.
"You're crazy, Mom, then what shall I do?" Jasmine had burst to tears now.
"Nothing," Mom snapped back at her. "You will be a slave girl all day long."
"A slave girl?" Jasmine cried. "Will I have to quit school? I mean, will I still get an education. Will I have to quit ballet and everything else I'm enrolled in?"
"Yes. You will not be allowed to do music. Nor are you allowed to even go to school, or take ballet etc."
"What's wrong with you, Allison?" Dad asked. "Jasmine must go to school and take her classes. She must do what she loves."
"She's addicted to music," Mom shot back. "She needs to learn to do housework, even the heavy duty stuff. It's vital."
"Jasmine needs to learn to do these things, but not when it will interfere with her music. Plus, you're overdoing it."
"No!"
"Mommy," Aylin begged. "Please, please, please let Jasmine do her usual thing. She is such an important part of my drama group, and everyone would burst to tears..."
"Stop!" yelled Mom.
"Mom," Megan put in. "Why are you cutting us off? Aylin has some very important points to make, and I totally agree with her. Mom, you've always been nice to us, and now you're treating Jasmine horribly. Please, let her do her thing. Okay?"
"Guys!" Mom yelled. "This is final. No more arguing. Jasmine has been extremely wrapped up in her music and unwilling to help out lately. From now on, she must quit her music, ballet and school to work as a slave girl, so she will learn how important household chores are."
"It's not even legal to quit school, unless we homeschool her," put in Dad. "I don't want to go there."
"Legality doesn't matter!" Mom yelled. "No more arguing."
"You'll get in trouble."
Everyone stopped talking and continued to eat. Jasmine finished breakfast early and went to her room to exercise. Suddenly, Mom came thumping toward the room.
"Jasmine!" she yelled at the top of her lungs. "Stop exercising and get to work!"
"Fine!"
Jasmine started moving the furniture around, but half of the things were too heavy for her to push. She tried with all her might with no success. "Help!" she called.
"No help!" Mom yelled back angrily. "Your arms are too weak from playing that stupid viola!"
Megan rushed over to give Jasmine a hand.
"No help!" Mom screamed.
"Mom, you're ridiculous!" Megan yelled. "Everyone needs some help with moving heavy things. Let me help her."
"No!" yelled Mom.
Megan ignored her.
"Mom must be in a bad mood, don't you think?"
"Yeah, totally," Jasmine said. "She's being insane at this point."
"Totally."
Jasmine and Megan got a lot of work done, but Mom was not pleased.
"You're insane!" Megan yelled.
"I agree," said Jasmine. "This is the meanest you have ever treated me. You have never treated Megan and Aylin like this. Now you're being so mean to me. If doing heavy duty housework means I can't practice for a day, that's fine, but not when I have a concert in three days."
"Jasmine, you're coming to work this instant!" Mom yelled.
"Can I bring entertainment with me?"
"No."
"I can't do nothing. You're being absolutely insane."
"No!"
Jasmine raced to the music room and started playing the viola. In the middle of warm-ups, Mom burst into the room. She snatched the viola and bow out of Jasmine's hands and threw them across the room. Luckily, the viola and bow landed on a soft surface so nothing was damaged, though the viola had a lot of scratches and the bridge had fallen out of place. The inside wasn't damaged. Thankfully, the bridge wasn't broken. It took Jasmine ten minutes to put the viola in a playable state.
"Jasmine!" Mom yelled.
"Not that again!" Jasmine shot back. "I've done about three quarters of the furniture. Will you please..."
"No!"
Jasmine kept playing. Whenever she heard a knock, she ignored it. She didn't take one break, even between pieces, so Mom couldn't get her attention. After practice, Jasmine went to finish her job. By now, Mom, Dad, and her two sisters were out of the house. Her arms were very tired.

2

When Jasmine finished with the furniture, there was a knock on the door. Kaitlin had arrived.
"I finished with the furniture. Thanks for the offer."
"Your welcome. Well then, we'll just hang out."
"Yeah, sure. I want to show you my viola, so I can tell you how mad Mom was. There's several scratches, but it still sounds good. Plus, the bridge fell out of place, but I managed to fix it. The inside is good."
"Show me then."
The two girls headed for the music room. Jasmine pulled out her viola.
"Look." She pointed to one big scratch at the peg end.
"Oh my gosh!" Kaitlin said. "What did Mom do?"
"She threw my viola and bow across the room, hoping to break them. Luckily, nothing was seriously damaged."
"That's terrible news."
"I know. Dad and my sisters all pleaded to let me continue, and I feel happy that they are speaking up for me."
"Well then. If Mom's still mad at you, we can get together and find a positive solution."
"Thank you."
"Can I take a look at your viola for a moment?"
"Sure."
Kaitlin examined it carefully. She even checked out the inside.
"There are a fair amount of scratches, but I don't think they will harm the sound." Kaitlin tested the viola to confirm. "It sounds perfectly fine," she concluded.
"Great."
"Then let's talk about this horrible situation. I want to know exactly what's happening so maybe we can come to a solution."
Jasmine cringed a little, as she was too upset to talk about this horrible situation, but she knew that if she told Kaitlin, there would be possibilities for a solution. After all, she was a very close friend of hers, and Kaitlin was always sympathetic.
"Mom told me to move some furniture around," Jasmine began. "I couldn't obey because I have a performance in three days and I need the strength to practice. Then, I muttered, `All right,` and that's when Mom started to get mad at me. She's always so nice to me. Now she's mean, and I did all I could to make her let me practice. Things got so bad she was going to take everything away from me and make me a slave girl."
"That's horrible. If Mom is still fussing about it, then I would talk to her and see what we can do about it."
"Thank you very much."
"You're very welcome. I think we could call up Elsiah and her sister, and the four of us, including your sisters and Dad, could try and persuade Mom and find a solution."
"Great."
Elsiah Ward is another close friend of Jasmine and Kaitlin, and she is exactly the same age as Jasmine. She, too, is musical and plays piano, violin, viola and flute. She is especially sympathetic, caring, thoughtful, smart, and persistent. Her eight-year-old sister, Kathine, is also musical and plays piano and violin. She, too, like her sister, is very sympathetic, persistent, thoughtful, smart and caring. Both of them are dedicated to caring for their mentally and physically struggling brother, Jefferson, who is twin with Kathine.
The rest of the play date went well. Kaitlin and Jasmine composed music, did stuff on the computer, hung out and chat, and played music together. In the meantime, Kaitlin and Jasmine practiced their music individually. At four o'c, Dad showed up, and Kaitlin's Mom hadn't come to pick her up. Dad normally gets home at about five thirty, but for some reason, he was early.
"Hi girls," he said. "I have some news for you. I reported Jasmine's Mom to court for child abuse. No action has been taken yet, but there's a potential that she will go to jail for a short time."
"Will she come home today?" Jasmine asked.
"Yes she will. I asked her how she feels about you, and she is still very mad at you for not moving the furniture under her expectations, even though she's ridiculous."
"But I got it done."
"I could tell her that, but she'd still be very upset. She feels guilty for what she did, but I'm afraid you'll have to be a slave girl just for the next two days. You'll get to practice your viola, however, because of the concert. You'll also be allowed to complete any school assignments."
"But if I'm a slave girl, I won't have the strength to practice, more so than for piano and violin. It's not super tiring, but I'll wear myself out."
"Well, then, you could do your work first, rest your body, and then you'll have to be a slave girl."
"Okay, fine," Jasmine said sadly.
At five o'c, Kaitlin's Mom came to pick her up. Just then, Mom showed up, followed by Megan and Aylin.
"Jasmine!" she yelled. "That was a horrible job."
"That looks good to me," said Megan.
"She didn't follow my expectations, so it is considered bad."
"Mom, you're ridiculous!" cried Aylin. "I couldn't do that by myself."
"Yes you could."
"I couldn't do half of it." Aylin burst to tears.
"Aylin. What attitude is that."
"Allison," Dad put in. "You've done a horrible job with Jasmine. Now you're doing the same thing to Aylin, and maybe you will to Megan, me, and other people."
Things were getting so intense that Jasmine rushed to the music room to play the viola. Aylin joined her to listen. Then, Jasmine stopped playing. She was crying, and so was Aylin. Then, Megan, Mom and Dad joined.
"Girls," Mom yelled. "Who started it?"
"Jasmine," answered Megan.
"She was playing something so beautiful and sweet," Aylin cried out in her high-pitched voice. "She's just having fun."
"No she isn't," Mom snapped. "She's wrapped up completely in her own world, unwilling to do housework, and too weak in her arms to move furniture because of viola playing."
"Mom," Megan pleaded. "This is your fault. Think about what you're doing. Just go back and think, and when you're ready, forgive what you've done. There's something on Jasmine's part, but she was simply worried. Plus, Jasmine actually has a strong body, and she may just simply be tired."
There was silence. Jasmine quietly put her viola away and rushed to her room. She sat up on her bed and cried her heart out. Suddenly, she heard knocking on the door. It must be Mom scolding her. Jasmine scrambled out of bed and raced to the door. She wanted to escape, but Mom was blocking her.
"Jasmine. This is your punishment."
"Mom. Megan is right. Do what she suggested. This is truly your fault, even though I have a part too."
Mom looked mad. "It's clearly your fault," she yelled.
"I know, but—"
"You have to be a slave girl from now on."
Jasmine read for a bit while Dad made dinner. At dinner time, the family discussed this matter.
"I think I did make an excuse," Jasmine confessed, "and I'm sorry. I want to forgive what I've done. I've done all I could, and that's what's important."
"It's okay," Dad said. "Sometimes we speak before we think. Words just fly out of our mouths, and sometimes it's meaningless. I think you were worrying too much about your body, and that's okay. There's always a solution to most, and if not, all problems. I don't think this was an excuse. I think you were just worried, and it came out as an excuse."
Jasmine was a little upset. Maybe she should think before she spoke. What Dad said was a comfort, but Mom was still mad.
Jasmine and Megan helped clean up after dinner. They talked about the problem.
"Sometimes, I worry too much about my body and am unwilling to do heavy duty stuff because of sports. From these experiences, I have learned to make schedules practical for my body, and you will learn this lesson, too, after this viola issue."
Jasmine felt much better. The rest of the evening was uneventful.

3

During the night, Jasmine had an awful dream about having her viola stolen and broken. For the next two days, Jasmine practiced her music and did her schoolwork in an orderly fashion as to rest her muscles, and obediently did her housework. Mom was pleased, but she was noticing that Jasmine worked very slowly.
"You need to work harder," she yelled.
Jasmine tried, but her muscles constantly got tired. This felt even worse than playing the viola for several hours on end.
On the night before the concert, Jasmine was jolted awake by the door opening. Mom came in with a belt.
"Jasmine!" she screamed. "You're not playing that concert!"
Jasmine was so sleepy that she could hardly answer Mom. "I—I—I can't, um, um, miss, um, I can't, I just have to perform the concert tomorrow. Go away!"
By now, Megan and Aylin were awake.
"Mom, you're going to ruin Jasmine!" Megan yelled as loud as she could. "We're not going to take it!"
Without a word, Mom came to Jasmine's bedside, lifted the quilt, and threw it off to one side. Jasmine tried to fight back, but she was too sleepy. She tried, but before she succeeded, Mom started whacking her right arm. Jasmine screamed in pain. Megan tried to pull her away from Jasmine. Aylin yelped. The more Mom beat her, the more Jasmine ached, and she screamed so loudly that her voice became hoarse. "I can't take any more!" she said, her voice cracking at the end.
By the time Mom finally left the room, Jasmine pulled at her shirt for a moment and stared at her arm. She tried lifting her right arm to see if her bones were broken. Luckily, her bones weren't broken, but her arm hurt immensely.
"I can't play viola! Help!" She screamed silently. Then she let out a yelp.
"Are you okay?" Megan asked.
"No. Mom beat me in the middle of the night. Look at my right arm." Jasmine pulled gently at her shirt collar and let Megan have a look. Jasmine cried. "She beat my right arm and it really hurts. Now I can't play viola! Help!"
"I saw that," Megan said. "Sleep, just sleep," Megan said soothingly, patting Jasmine on the chest.
"Nothing can console me now." Jasmine burst to tears. "I can't play. What can I do? Did I really make an excuse?" Jasmine was crying now, her voice constantly cracking.
"No. It was an honest excuse. That housework is intense, and I think you were simply worrying for nothing. Like Dad said, we can always work around our problems. Okay? Let's hope this doesn't happen again. Like I said, there was something on your part, but you were excusing because you were worrying, and that's okay. You will learn. Just sleep."
Jasmine felt much better. "So what about the concert?" she asked. "My arm hurts really, really badly, and I can't play."
"Let's see how your arm feels by noon. If it still hurts, I could help you play. I'll take a day off from school to dedicate to you."
"How?"
"I'll help you transmit energy to the bow and string. You'll guide my arm. You don't need to use energy, just speed. I'll take care of the energy. How about let's try it in the morning?"
"Sure."
Jasmine tried to sleep, but the pain stopped her. She kept trying with no success. When morning came, the two girls got dressed and went to practice their viola act. At first, Megan was taking too much control over the bow, causing screeching, but with practice, Megan learned to use only energy. Jasmine was singing her heart out. She cocked her head back to indicate more. She bent forward to indicate less. Soon, the two had perfected the act.
"How's your arm?" Megan asked.
"Better," Jasmine answered. "Will I really do this at the concert?"
"We'll see how your arm feels."
Jasmine rested in bed. Megan fed her breakfast to be nice so Jasmine could fully rest her arm. By nine-thirty, her muscles had stopped hurting. Jasmine went to the music room to practice her viola. She could get a near-optimum sound.
"My arm is almost perfect," she said to Megan in the hallway. "Thanks for your help."
"You're very welcome."
Mom was supposed to go to the concert, but since she had abused Jasmine, Dad took her. The concert was an orchestra performance at the Adult Care Center. Jasmine was required to play a very important viola solo because she was considered to be one of the greatest and most virtuosic young violists in town. She began playing the viola a year and a half ago in an orchestra. She was initially supposed to play the violin, but due to a lack of viola players, the conductor asked for any violinist volunteers who could step in and play viola, so Jasmine accepted after consent from her violin teacher. She also participated in a local chamber music program as violist of a string quartet consisting of two violins, a viola and a cello. She did not take lessons because she had a hectic ballet schedule. It would also be a financial burden for her parents, as they would have to pay for lessons and instrument maintenance. She really enjoyed the viola so she continued to play it. A few months ago, her violin teacher fell ill with cancer, so a new teacher was in order. Kaitlin's family recommended the Langley Community Music School (LCMS), and Jasmine signed up there. Her violin teacher was also a viola player, so he gave her viola lessons in addition to her violin lessons.
"Mom beat my right arm last night," Jasmine said in the car.
"I actually saw her get out of bed with a strap, and I tried to stop her from beating you, but I couldn't."
"That was nice of you, Dad," Jasmine said back. "My arm's good enough to play, so that's good."
"That's great news."
The concert was a success. Dad said she did beautifully. Jasmine's right arm was a little tired after playing, but she knew that she would get better.
On the first part of the way home, Jasmine was silent. So was Dad. She slept. Then, she cried like mad. Dad tried to calm her down, but Jasmine was too upset for any comfort. She wanted to forgive what she had done, and most of all, she wished she obeyed obediently to do Mom's housework. Most of all, she wished this child abuse attack never happened.
At home, things were pretty bad. Jasmine was forced to prepare lunch. She was a good cook, but she was so upset she could hardly concentrate. Her mind was on the terrible crime she committed. She didn't want to lose her mother, though she was pretty violent. Her cooking turned out messy, and Mom beat her in the left shoulder.
"You can't do that, that's abusive!" Jasmine screamed. "Now I can't play violin and viola and do heavy duty housework."
"You're a horrible cook," Mom sneered.
"I was too upset to concentrate," Jasmine said, crying. "I'm so sorry for not obeying to your housework. I love playing viola, and it is not tiring. I will forgive you for what I've done."
"No Jasmine, no. You're a slave girl from now on. I'm going to smash your instruments to pieces."
She screamed.
"No! I'm going to get your instruments right now. I'll smash them to pieces. Then, you have to stack some heavy boxes."
Oh no, Jasmine thought. She was very tired by now. She ran after her mother as fast as she could. They ended up in the music room. She kept screaming when Mom was trying to get her hands on Jasmine's violin.
"Stop!" Jasmine screamed.
"Stop!" Mom screamed.
Megan came rushing into the room.
"This is unacceptable!" she said loudly.
Megan pulled the violin, bow and other things out of the case and rushed out of the room with violin things in hand. Just when Mom tried to get her hands on the viola, Jasmine took it and ran after Megan. Just when Megan slowed down near their room, there were footsteps approaching.
"Oh no," Jasmine whispered.
She quietly opened the door to her room and closed the door behind her. Megan put the violin and accessories on Jasmine's bed. Jasmine put her viola and accessories on her own bed.
"It may be out of tune," Megan whispered. "I bumped it a few times. There's a few scratches. I tried to be as quick and careful as I could."
"Mom was chasing me," Jasmine whispered back.
Jasmine raced out of the room, down the stairs and into the music room. Her violin case was gone. She raced back to her room. Megan was gone. She listened for any noise. Mom was in her room, which she shared with Dad. Jasmine went there and found Mom with violin case in hand. When Mom put it down and was just about to do something that Jasmine knew was evil which was probably searching her room for tools to break the case, Jasmine took it, headed to her room, and packed up her violin things. She hid the violin and viola under Aylin's bed. She went to Mom's room to talk to her.
"Mom, what next?" Jasmine asked.
"You need to redo lunch."
Oh my, Jasmine thought. She was very tired by now.
With little energy to spare, she cleaned up the mess in the kitchen and fixed a lunch for everyone. At the lunch table, Mom was the first to speak.
"Immediately after lunch, Jasmine, you need to stack boxes in the basement."
"Okay," Jasmine said, trying to hide her terrible feelings.
"Can I help?" Megan asked. "I know I have an essay to finish, but Jasmine needs the help."
"Go finish your essay first, Megan," Mom screamed. "Jasmine, move the boxes on your own."
"That can't be possible," Dad said.
No one spoke. Jasmine finished her lunch and washed a few dishes. The food made her feel a little better.
"Go move the boxes!" Mom screamed.
Jasmine went straight to work. After about ten minutes, Mom came.
"That's a terrible job," she yelled.
"How is it terrible?"
"Evaluate it yourself."
She kept on with the box-stacking.
"It's so tiring," Jasmine said to herself. She wanted to collapse on the ground and go to sleep.
"No more complaining!" Mom yelled angrily.
"I can't stand it!" screamed Jasmine.
Mom started beating her. Jasmine screamed. Megan rushed into the room.
"Mom, you're been abusive. I want to speak to Kaitlin, Jasmine's friend."
"Do you want to let her do music? This is unacceptable." Mom smacked Megan in the forehead.
"Ouch!" she screamed.
"You will be punished for speaking up for Jasmine, so will Aylin, Dad, and Kaitlin."
"Mom," Jasmine said, her eyes filled with tears. "you can't punish someone else's child. You don't have the rights to."
"Rights don't matter," Mom sneered.
"What sad news. You only care about yourself, you've been so nice, and now you're abusive."
"Don't say such things about me, you brat," Mom laughed.
"Mom. Seriously?" Megan said. "This is unacceptable. I can tell you right now that you will be sent to prison if you do that again. Do you want that?"
"No."
"Then I'm phoning Dad."
Megan rushed out of the room.
"No!" shouted Mom. "No Megan."
Jasmine rushed out of the room, leaving the boxes untouched. She went to take a nap. When she woke up, she found that Aylin was already home from school.
"Jasmine," she said, "I feel so incredibly sorry for you. I asked Megan to text Dad, and she received a reply. Dad said the law justice department will deal with it sooner or later."
"Thank goodness," Jasmine said.
"I have an idea. Megan and I will protect you at home and whenever possible. You can go to school like normal."
"Thank you. Hopefully it will work out."
As Jasmine was just about to practice piano, Mom pulled her away from the music room.
"Go back and finish your work. You are totally on top of your music. Plus, why would you go nap like you did? Naps are for babies."
"But it's not a bad thing," Aylin put in. "She's dedicated to her music, school, ballet etc. That's a good thing. Plus, she was clearly very tired."
Mom yelled something, but Jasmine didn't understand what she said. Jasmine finished her box-stacking.
"I'm done for the day," she said. "I'm tired in both arms, especially my right and I feel tired in my back."
"You have more!" Mom screamed.
"Are you going to make me work until I faint? This is detremental to health."
"Health doesn't matter!" Mom screamed.
"You're crazy!" Aylin cried out. "Mom, you need to get down to business. Please. Jasmine was perfectly fine the way she was. Now, she's worse. You've beat her up. Now she's in terrible pain."
"I hurt everywhere," Jasmine said, her eyes starting to fill with tears.
Just then, Dad showed up.
"Allison," he began, "you have to pay several fines. On Saturday, you will go to jail for a month. After that, you will have to live all by yourself. You can't even have pets, or get married, or have international students. You can't even contact us."
Aylin and Jasmine's faces reddened.
"Does this mean I will only have one parent?" Aylin asked.
"I'm afraid so," answered Dad. "You girls will have more housework to do, but it will not be nearly as crazy as the kind Jasmine is being faced with. You will not be slaves."
"It's all my fault," Jasmine said, crying.
Dad hugged her.
"I think Mom may be very upset, which is resulting in her treating everyone so harshly," Dad said.
"That may be true," said Aylin.
"What is she so upset about?" Jasmine asked.
"I have no clue," Dad answered.

4

The next few days were uneventful and tiring. Megan, Aylin and Jasmine attended school as usual. Mom was not allowed to say a word or do anything to anyone in this house, leaving Megan, Jasmine, Aylin and Dad to take care of things. The four people had a fair share of the housework—Jasmine cooked, Aylin and Megan cleaned, and Dad supervised and took care of adult business. Everyone was allowed to complete their work, though. There were certain days when dinner was skipped, but that was okay. Jasmine had horrible arm, shoulder and back pain.
On Saturday morning, the law justice department came to the house to get Mom. Jasmine, Aylin and Megan were left with Dad. Everyone had to do housework first thing. Megan scrubbed the floors. Aylin washed the dishes. Jasmine took care of the laundry. Dad dusted the furniture. Then, everyone went to work. Megan headed to her soccer game with her friend. Jasmine and Aylin practiced their music. Dad had computer work to do. At lunchtime, Aylin cried.
"It's all Mom's fault," she said weeping. "Jasmine had a part too. Now we have no Mommy." Aylin screamed.
"It's okay," Jasmine said sympathetically. "You'll get used to it."
"What about your work, Dad?" Megan inquired. "Will you have to change your schedules?"
"Yes. I'll work on weekends and take any time off I need to dedicate to you ladies."
"Great," Aylin responded.
There was hope. Jasmine felt hope. Things would never be the same without Mom, but she was glad Mom was gone because she had been extremely violent with her.
After lunch, Jasmine and Aylin finished their music practices and went to do other things. As Jasmine was writing her story in the study room, she wept. Could Mom have done such a thing to me? She cried. I shouldn't have made an excuse like this. Then I would loose Mom. But what if I said yes? Maybe I could've done viola first and then tried to do housework, but then I might be warn out from playing. I don't get tired after playing for two hours, as long as I take breaks sometimes.
She went to find Dad. He was playing with his phone in the living room. She cried.
"It's all my fault. I shouldn't have made an excuse like this. Playing viola isn't so bad. In fact, it's not really tiring either. Could we get Mom back, please? It's all my fault, not hers."
"Jasmine," Dad hugged her, "I know exactly how you feel. Okay? Let's forget about it. We have all made not-so-good choices before. Okay? Let's put it this way. Mom was the root cause of the problem because she made you do that housework, and it is especially tiring. It's probably even more tiring than playing viola, and I totally get how you feel because you want to get lots of work done. It's all about balancing your time."
Somehow, Jasmine began to loosen up.
"What about Mom?" she asked.
"I'm afraid we can't get her back, but we'll see."
Suddenly, Aylin showed up.
"Maybe she could escape," she put in, "or you could remarry."
"Maybe," Jasmine said. "I don't know. The chance is small."
The rest of the afternoon was uneventful, but Jasmine was really upset. How could I make such a thing happen? I need to tell Kaitlin.
She went to the computer and sent Kaitlin an email explaining her situation. She needed help. What if she was in the news? Dad always checked the news, and he didn't tell her she was in the news. Would her classmates talk about the abuse attack? She hoped not.
Jasmine wept for a while, unsure what to do. Then, she exercised a bit and helped prepare dinner. She cried as she chopped peppers and cucumbers for salad. She had trouble concentrating while she was making pasta sauce. She spilled a lot, and Megan had to clean up after her. How clumsy are you? Jasmine was trying to predict what Megan would say, but she hoped Megan was aware of how upset she was.
Dinner was silent. No one said a word. Everyone was too upset to speak. Megan did the dishes.

Everyone except Dad went to bed early. Aylin and Megan woke up at five in the morning and got straight to work. By eight thirty, Jasmine was still sleeping, and Aylin was impatiently waiting for breakfast in the dining room. Megan was beside her.
"What about breakfast?" Aylin asked.
"Maybe we'll have to tell Dad to cook it," Megan said. "He's a reasonable cook and does some weekend lunches. I could do it for you, but honestly, I'm not a very good cook."
"I'm afraid so," Aylin said weakly. "Jasmine is such a good cook."
"That's true, but she's really upset and tired right now so let's let her sleep. Dad's awake, so we could tell him to cook."
Suddenly, Dad appeared.
"Where's breakfast?" he asked curiously.
"We don't have any," Megan replied. "I'm sorry, but Jasmine's still sleeping because she's very tired and upset as you may know."
"Then, I'll make some," Dad offered.
"Great," said Aylin.
It took Dad around twenty minutes to make breakfast. He heated up some porridge that was left in the fridge. He pulled out some granola bars and tortilla chips. Megan heated some bread. Everyone enjoyed breakfast.
Aylin volunteered to do the dishes while Megan went to check on Jasmine. She was sitting on her bed, viola in hand. She was drawing the bow across the strings, but all that was coming out was a whispery, ghost-like tone.
"Jasmine. What have you been up to?"
She didn't answer.
"Jasmine. What have you been up to?"
No answer. She had repeated the same statement about six times with long pauses in between until Jasmine started to cry. She put her viola and bow down and calmed herself down. That took ten minutes.
"I'm—I'm ex—extremely up—upset," she said, an upset quiver in her voice. "I'm trying to—to play the viola, but I can't seem to get a good sound no matter how hard I try."
"Let's see. Can we maybe try drawing the bow across the strings together?"
Jasmine gave a quick nod.
Megan put her arm on top of Jasmine's, and the two of them drew the bow across the strings together, creating a scratchy but full sound.
"The strings are working at least." Jasmine gave a sigh of relief. "Now I better rest my poor body."
"Okay then, I won't disturb you any longer."
Megan rushed out of the room, closing the door. She went to find Dad.
"How's Jasmine?" he asked.
"She's very tired and upset. She tried to play the viola, but couldn't get a proper sound out of it without me."
Just then, there was a knock on the door. Megan's two soccer friends, Elspreet Negra and Teresa Bolton, showed up. Megan knew it was time to head to her soccer game, but she wasn't sure if she should go because Jasmine wasn't feeling well. She thought for a moment, deciding whether to go or not.
"I better not go," she announced. "My sister's sick."
"Which one?" asked Elspreet.
"I don't want to tell."
"Okay."
She shut the door and raced to the bedroom. Jasmine was fast asleep. Her viola and bow were lying on Megan's bed without the case. Megan stuck around for a while with a novel to read but eventually decided to go hang out with her soccer friends.

5

Jasmine woke up just before dinner, feeling pain everywhere. The pain was so severe that she could barely move. All she could do was scream at the top of her lungs, but her throat was sore.
Fifteen minutes later, Megan showed up. She had checked on Jasmine numerous times, but every time, she found her sleeping.
"How are you feeling?" she asked.
Jasmine spoke so quietly that Megan didn't hear her. She tried again, a little louder, but her voice cracked.
"I'm in severe pain."
"I'll give you a little massage." Megan hugged her suffering sister.
Megan began pressing on various spots. After twenty intensive minutes of massaging, Jasmine said that she was feeling much better.
"I'm starving," she said. Her throat was feeling better.
"Let's head to the kitchen," Megan said.
Megan waited for Jasmine to dress, and the two walked slowly and steadily to the kitchen. Dad was cooking spaghetti.
"How are you feeling, Jasmine?" he asked.
"Pretty good," she answered.
"I'm glad. Would you be willing to give us a concert on any instrument tonight, just for a spiritual celebration?"
"Okay," Jasmine answered.
She headed back to her room and read her novel until dinner.
Dinner was tasty, and everyone was virtually silent. Jasmine decided to play Chopin's Waltz on piano for the spiritual celebration.
After dinner, Jasmine went to practice the waltz. Shortly after rehearsing, she called everyone to the spiritual celebration. Aylin looked ready to dance. She wasn't a big fan of ballet, and would much rather do hip-hop, since she likes the music better. Jasmine played through the waltz.
"Great job, Jasmine," Megan said, hugging and kissing her recovered sister.
Jasmine showed a great smile on her face. She felt so happy. Everyone except her went to bed early, but Jasmine was hyper. She was hyper to the point that she stayed up until 1:00 a.m. She felt like playing the viola, but that wasn't an option because she'd wake everyone up. Instead, she read through two short novels before going to bed.

All night, Jasmine tossed and turned, unable to sleep. The next day was a school day, and she was not prepared. She was so on top of the child abuse attack she was faced with that she wasn't sure if she had completed all of her school assignments. She doubted that she would get a good mark on her assignments. She packed everything she needed for school—binders, textbooks, lunch, pencil kit, and her homework/early finisher bag that also contained her notebook/planner. She also placed her water bottle and house key in her purse. Apparently, she wasn't in the mood for breakfast, but she forced herself to eat her porridge. She didn't take any extras, like cereal, fruit, nuts, muffins, or toast. Apparently, she was the last to finish breakfast, which was unusual because she was usually first.
On the way to school at Ravania Secondary School, Jasmine began to feel depressed. She worried that other students would call her names, or get bad marks on her assignments, or have a malfunctioning viola.
School was not very exciting. Jasmine became bored out of her mind during math class because the teacher, Mrs. Dutton, kept droning on and on and on about how to add and subtract exponents. Jasmine was already very good at adding and subtracting exponents. Math was one of her stronger subjects, but if she had to tell the truth, it would be English. She even started to cry. Thankfully, no one knew what was happening to her outside of school. She brightened up during science and lunch break. During science class, she and a group of classmates conducted an electrical experiment. During lunchtime, Jasmine hung out with Kaitlin. By the beginning of sewing class, Jasmine was feeling really good. Plus, it was really exciting because she got to finish up her piece of cloth, which she planned to use to clean her violin and viola. French class was lots of fun. The students played a vocabulary game and completed a quiz. The teacher, Mr. Linder, handed out a new vocabulary sheet.
On the way home from school, Jasmine ran into Kaitlin, which is unusual because Kaitlin runs home to check on her thirteen-year-old sister, Jasmin, who is driven home from school by her mother. It's funny because Kaitlin doesn't have as much eyesight as Jasmin, yet she could maintain her safety. The other thing, too, is that Jasmin needs a lot of attention due to medical, physical and psychological issues. She has a condition in which her body will not produce enough cells. She also lacks some blood vessels and air sacs in her lungs.
"Hi Kaitlin," Jasmine said.
"Hi Jasmine. How are you?"
"Not too bad. How are you?"
"Not great. Jasmin's been having a rough period."
"Poor Jasmin. What's up with her?"
"She's having an anxiety breakdown. I better rush home. Bye."
Kaitlin raced down the street. Jasmine turned at the next corner. She was almost home.
When she got home, neither Megan nor Aylin were there. Jasmine knew that Megan had basketball practice, but where was Aylin? She began to worry. Just then, there was a knock on the door. It was Aylin.
"Hi Aylie. Where have you been?"
"I was having too much fun with Savanna and Brooklin."
"You didn't tell me. I was so worried. It's important that you tell me about such things ahead of time if you can. I'll let this time go, but next time, please keep watch of your time."
"Okay."
The rest of the day was uneventful. Jasmine finished her school homework and practiced her music. By 9:00 p.m., she was very tired. She couldn't believe that her muscles would ache after practicing the viola for forty-five minutes, which is not normal because she practices viola sixty to eighty minutes per day, violin for close to two hours per day, and piano for ninety minutes per day. She massaged herself for twenty minutes before preparing for bed.

6

The next two days did not go well. People were calling her all kinds of crazy names including "The Abused Violist" or "Nude Viola". Only her best friends, parents, and teachers were sympathetic.
"It's okay, you'll get over it," Jasmine's best friend from school, Evie Pravafia, once said.
"Stress is never the easiest thing to overcome," Annis Ferair, another school friend, said at another point.
Thursday went much better. School was exciting, and most classmates showed sympathy towards her. Everyone knew what she was going through.
During orchestra rehearsal, another violist, Victor Lin, who could tell exactly how Jasmine was feeling, said, "There's always an end to stress. Your problems will always be solved."
By the end of orchestra rehearsal, Jasmine was feeling much better. Tomorrow, she had English class, and Jasmine knew it would be fun. English has always been a favourite subject of hers because she loved stories and words.
During the car ride home, Jasmine wept. Why did Mom treat me so harshly? Why did I get so worried about my body? I lost my Mom. Please. I wish this never happened. She screamed.
"We'll see," Dad said. "We might be able to work out a solution."
"Then what?" Jasmine asked.
"I don't know," Dad said. "Quite honestly, you're just going to have to put up with it for now."
"Yeah, I guess so," Jasmine said weakly.
She was still weeping.
"I'm pretty upset, too," Aylin put in.
"I feel so guilty for what I've done," Jasmine said.
"Quite honestly, Mom should've left that housework up to you and Megan for the next day."
"Yeah. I couldn't have done that by myself. I feel like I've done something completely wrong."
"Well, I don't think we can undo the damage now. Quite honestly, Mom made a bad choice."
"I wished this never happened," Aylin said, her eyes filled with tears.
"I wish I took different actions," said Jasmine.
"I kind of wish we could forgive," Aylin said. "Can we?"
"I'm afraid not," answered Dad.
They were almost home when Jasmine thought of something. She didn't want to tell anyone. It was an idea for a new composition; one that would express how she was truly feeling. She wanted to do nothing but play viola all night, but she knew that she had to get some sleep or else she would flunk school tomorrow.

In the middle of the night, Jasmine was jolted awake by the mysterious sounds of a screechy violin. It was an unusually deep and mysterious screech. Could it be a cello? Jasmine questioned.
She dressed quickly and raced to the site of the noise, but the noise moved as she tried to approach it. She kept trying until she noticed something lying on the ground. Someone had been playing on her viola! Jasmine picked up her viola and bow and looked everywhere for her viola case. It was nowhere to be seen. Then, she heard a mysterious voice call her name. "Jasmine. Jasmine. Jasmine. Come here." Who could that be? She heard her name repeated at least twenty times before she found the figure that was calling her name. The figure had black powder all over her face and in her hair. She was wearing a bulky skirt and a dirty-looking shirt.
"Mom, Mom, what have you been doing? Were you playing on my viola? Where's the case?"
"No, I was not playing on your viola. The case is in the garbage."
"Oh no!" Jasmine tried not to scream. "Can I get it back?"
"Goodness no," Mom replied.
Jasmine searched all of the garbage cans. She even searched the storage room. No luck. She checked every cranny she could find in the house. Still no luck. But wait a minute. She had forgotten to check her parents' bedroom because she feared that she would wake up her Dad, but she knew that she had no choice. She quietly opened the door. Her viola case was there. She quietly packed her viola and bow away. She placed her viola in her room and went back to sleep.
At first, she couldn't sleep. She tossed and turned. She tried to meditate with no success. She just could not calm down. She either wanted to play the viola, or cry her heart out out loud, or pray to God and forgive the sins she committed that relate to losing her Mom. She checked the time. 4:15 a.m. How was she going to spend the next hour and fifteen minutes? Suddenly, she heard a loud whisper from Megan's bed.
"Jasmine. What's up?" It was Megan speaking.
"I hope I haven't woken you up," Jasmine whispered back.
"You did, but that's okay."
"Yeah, I heard the screeching of a violin and discovered that my Mom, who looked like a ghost, was playing on my viola! It's safe and sound in its case, thank god."
"I was jolted awake by that same noise. I'm surprised that Aylie was still sleeping soundly."
Megan went back to sleep. Jasmine lay half awake until the alarm went off at 5:25 a.m. Jasmine and Megan dressed quietly and went downstairs. Megan got ready to head to the gym for her workout. Jasmine went to practice piano. She was almost finished when Dad pulled her away from the piano.
"May I ask you to cook us a luxurious breakfast and a luxurious lunch today?"
"Okay," Jasmine answered cheerfully, having learned the lesson to always cheerfully respond to orders asking for house chore completion. She thought for a moment. How about adding macadamia nuts, maple syrup and raisins to today's porridge? It was a ritual to use different additives for each day's breakfast porridge. Jasmine added the macadamia nuts, maple syrup and raisins to the already-cooked pot of porridge rice. She stirred until she could see the three added ingredients evenly distributed. Then, she made some stir-fried rice with tofu, cabbage, lentils and added a small amount of cumin and lemon juice at the end. She also heated up three pieces of pork: one for Aylin, one for Dad and one for Megan. She signaled everyone to eat breakfast, pack lunch and get going.
"Dad, would you ever abuse me like Mom did?"
"Of course not," he answered.
Jasmine wasn't convinced. She felt as if Dad would punish her if she chose not to make breakfast and lunch by forcing her to stay home from school, or taking away her instruments, or pulling her away from her friends.
"Jasmine, can you please move a few tables around after school today?" Dad asked.
"No."
"I was just kidding. I wouldn't do such a thing to you."
"Dad, I still don't trust you."
"Jasmine," Megan said firmly. "Dad is not abusive. Quite honestly, he understands your passion for cooking. He feels that you are willing to do it."
Jasmine wept. She was so upset that she couldn't swallow her porridge.
"It's okay," Megan hugged her upset sister. "Dad knows what you've been through, so he will try his absolute best to make you feel happy."
"Okay," Jasmine said weakly. She finished her breakfast quickly and packed up to head to school.
English class was a disaster. Jasmine was both unfocussed and upset. She couldn't understand half of the short story the class was reading. She did not raise her hand to share her ideas like she usually does. She hoped that her English teacher, Mrs. Kadlick, didn't know how terrible she was feeling. She expected Mrs. Kadlick to get mad at her, but she didn't. Jasmine was hopeful that Mrs. Kadlick and her classmates understood that she was just having a bad day, and it was nothing significant.
Art class was much more fun. The class made paintings related to their lives. Jasmine continued to work on her orchestra-related painting. The art teacher, Mrs. Hardingpervere, let Jasmine do an extra project. This time, she decided to create a painting of her playing the viola (or violin) with her Mom looking mad next to her, literally yelling "Stop it this instant!"
Jasmine spent her lunch break with Kaitlin, Evie, Annis and Jasmin.
"How are you feeling?" Annis asked.
"Not too happy," Jasmine answered, almost crying.
"It's not easy to get through a parental loss," Evie put in. "Just take it easy."
Evie is one of Jasmine's best friends from school. She's not very tall with black, curly hair, pale skin, and a rounded face. She lost her father in a car accident when she was seven, so she truly knows what parental loss is like.
"I feel like my most beloved viola will be ruined to bits, and so will my most beloved violin."
"It won't, I promise you," Kaitlin said. "We can work something out to protect your instruments."
No one spoke. How in the world could all this be happening at once?
"Kaitlin, I want my music," Jasmin said.
Kaitlin pulled out an MP3 player. She flipped through her music album until she found Jasmin's favourite piece, Vivaldi's Spring Concerto. As the music played, the four continued to each lunch and discuss their lives.
"A lot of boys want to date me," Kaitlin said, "but I have no time to date. I need to spend all the time I can practicing and studying. Plus, I feel that I'm too young to date. What's the point of dating in high school, anyway?"
"That's understandable," Annis said. "I've been asked to date, but I need to practice piano and violin and get my schoolwork done. Plus, I also believe dating in high school is pointless. One trick that works really well for avoiding dates is to ignore any dating invitations. Then, no one will choose you as their girlfriend or boyfriend."
"Thanks, Annis," Kaitlin said. "The one guy who really wants to know me is Joseph Conrad Baker because he's a cellist and is really interested in me as a musician."
"Oh yeah, all the string playing girls love Joseph because he's an excellent cellist, and everyone wants to play chamber music with him," Annis said. "And he knows he wants to marry a string player."
"I get that," Jasmine said.
The lunch room suddenly fell silent.
"What's happening?" Jasmine asked herself without speaking.
Just then, the bell rang. Jasmine had to go to social studies class. Social studies is an enjoyable subject for Jasmine, but there are way too many details to remember. Even her somewhat photographic memory couldn't take it all in.

Note: This novel is a work in progress. I will continue it later.
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